Christie was born on May 25, 1836 in Baltimore County, Maryland, the daughter of Christopher Alder and Juliet Bowen. Her father must have died when Christie was very young, as when she was three years old, her mother Juliet married a second time, to Andrew Uhler. In the 1850 census, the Uhler household was a mix of children from Juliet's and Andrew's first marriages, and new children that the couple had together [including Christie's step-sister, Margaret, from October's blog post].
John Henry Beckley was born on August 1, 1829, the son of Jacob Beckley and Matilda Wilson. On his father's side, John was a great-grandson of John Reister. In the 1850 census, John was twenty years old, living with his parents and three younger brothers, and working as a carpenter.
John and Christie were married sometime in the mid-1850s. Their first child, a daughter named Annie, was born in 1858, but lived just five short weeks.
On July 5, 1859, John Beckley purchased a parcel of land known as "The Chase" from David Macklefresh for $250. The land was located on the north side of Westminster Turnpike (present-day Rt. 140), and contained "two acres, one road + twenty perches more or less".
By the 1860 census, the couple had a new child, eight-month-old Philip. John's occupation was listed as "officer", and he owned real estate valued at $1,000.
Ten years later in the 1870 census, the household had grown to include four daughters: Julia, Bettie, Fannie, and Laura. John continued to work as a carpenter, and the real estate he owned was now valued at $2,000. Christie was keeping house.
In 1880, eldest son Philip had moved out was working as a clerk in the Russell Brothers' store, but the Beckleys had two more children, John and Bertha.
Daughter Laura Beckley died suddenly in 1894, while on a visit to a cousin in Baltimore City. She was 25 years old.
Over the years, the Beckleys' other daughters married and moved out. By the 1900 census, only son John remained in the household. John Beckley, now 70 years old, was listed as a Justice of the Peace.
In 1910, John and Christie had an empty nest, but had a "hired boy" Bernard Hoar living with them.
Christie Ann Beckley passed away on January 18, 1914 at the age of 77.
In March of 1915, the Baltimore Sun had an article quaintly entitled "Reisterstown's Remarkable Colony of Very Old People", and John Beckley was one of those featured:
"Along the quiet road, striding ahead with the springy step of youth, carrying a cane which he apparently needs as little as an elephant needs two trunks, John Henry Beckley, 86 years old, wends his way homeward from the magistrate's office. Home, for him, is two miles away, a distance the thought of which would cause many a city-bred youth to spend the night downtown or hire a taxi rather than walk it. John Henry Beckley, 86, walks it twice a day.John Beckley passed away on May 24, 1918 at the age of 88.
And he doesn't come to town to sit on a cracker-box in front of the store at the corner grocery and dream of his boyhood. Mr. Beckley is the magistrate of Reisterstown. Ask any Reisterstown man how long he has been magistrate, and in spite of specific information on other matters of interest about the place, he will probably lapse into hazy generalities when discussing the Beckley tenure of office.
'Oh, goodness!' the person asked will exclaim with a hopeless gesture, 'Ever since I can remember.' And Reisterstown memories ordinarily have a way about them of reaching fairly far back.
During all his 86 years Mr. Beckley has breathed no air but the air of Reisterstown. He has raised seven children and they have all 'stayed raised.' All are living today."
John and Christie's children were:
- Annie Beckley, 1858-1858
- Philip G. Beckley, 1859-1922, husband of (1) Addie Gallihugh & (2) Lucile Bowers
- Julia M. Beckley, 1862-1942, wife of (1) Linton Arnold, (2) William Gemmill, & (3) Willis Dunn
- Bettie Beckley, 1864-1946, wife of George Johnson
- Fannie S. Beckley, 1866-1939, wife of (1) George Naylor & (2) Aler Lockard
- Laura Gertrude Beckley, 1868-1894, unmarried
- John Harry Beckley, 1871-1950, husband of Katie Fairley
- Bertha Alder Beckley, 1877-1946, wife of Ernest MacEwen
Ancestry.com (census records; photos courtesy of Jones Family Tree)
- Year: 1850; Census Place: District 1, Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: M432_280; Page: 246B.
- Year: 1850; Census Place: District 1, Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: M432_280; Page: 223A-B.
- Year: 1860; Census Place: District 4, Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: M653_468; Page: 22.
- Year: 1870; Census Place: District 4, Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: M593_569; Page: 243A-B.
- Year: 1880; Census Place: District 4, Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: 495; Page: 575B-576C.
- Year: 1900; Census Place: District 4, Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: 606; Page: 23A.
- Year: 1910; Census Place: District 4, Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: T624_550; Page: 17A.
- "Miss Beckley Dies Suddenly." Date: 16 April 1894; Page: 10.
- "Suburban Obituary." Date: 19 January 1914; Page: 5.
- "Reisterstown's Remarkable Colony Of Very Old People." Date: 21 March 1915; Page: M9.
Cemetery photos © AgateGS